Spark! School Book Awards 2023

Originating in Kingston and Richmond and now in its third year and partnered by the OU these awards are expanding their reach to any school in the UK. With a vision to “build excitement and enjoyment in reading in all schools”, children vote for the winners of the three main categories: Picture fiction for early readers; Fiction for readers aged 7+ and Fiction for readers aged 9+. To enable Spark! pupils and teachers to experience a greater range of texts, they have introduced a new guest category, which will change each year. The guest category for 2022-23, is Poetry by a single author (primary age), which is suitable to use across the whole school. There is also a School of the Year award to the school which has shown inspiring engagement in every aspect of the Spark! Book Awards. As well as winning a Spark! Trophy, the winning school will also receive £100 of books for their school, chosen by the school.

Resources available to participating schools include competitions, Buzz downloadable magazine, online Q&A sessions with authors and illustrators, posters and reading booklets. As a registered charity and through donations made to the Spark! Book Fund, they put books in the hands of children who may not have access to them, as nominated by their teachers.

Publishers submit titles in the Autumn term. Panels of teachers, librarian and educational professionals select the longlists which are announced in December and the shortlists in January with voting opening in May. The online award ceremony is held in June.

Picture Fiction for Early Readers Winner

The Drama Llama. Written by Rachel Morrisoe, illustrated by Ella Oksted.(Puffin) ISBN: 978-0241453001

A delightfully humorous and wise story about how to deal with anxiety

Alex Allen, like lots of children, sometimes worried about

But unlike lots of children, every time he worries a real-life llama appears! And the more Alex worries, the bigger Llama grows… which starts getting him into all sorts of trouble!

Fiction for Readers Aged 7+ Winner

Einstein the Penguin written by Iona Rangeley illustrated by David Tazzyman (HarperCollins) ISBN: 978-0008475994

When the Stewart family visit London Zoo one winter afternoon, Imogen and Arthur are enthralled by a small, inquisitive penguin named Einstein. However, they are astounded when he turns up on their doorstep later that evening.  They discover that he is on a rescue mission. Can they help him complete his quest before the mysterious man in a wide-brimmed hat catches up with them? Funny, heart warming and thoroughly engaging.

Fiction for Readers Aged 9+ Winner

The Rollercoaster Boy written by Lisa Thompson illustrated by Gemma Correll (Scholastic) ISBN: ‎ 978-0702301599

A warm-hearted, involving story about a  group of unlikely friends in a run-down seaside hotel who set out to solve an intriguing mystery from the hotel’s past It is also a sensitive, empathetic portrayal of having a parent with bipolar.  Dad’s mental health status is the rollercoaster in his children’s lives.

Guest Category – Poetry – winner

Things that Should Be in a Poem written by Coral Rumble illustrated by Shih-Yu Lin (Troika) ISBN: 978-1912745203

A wonderful anthology of poems that cover the day-to-day contents of every child’s life, though the surreal to the absurd.  Precise descriptions full of sound and texture and rhyme make each poem a delight that will enthuse children with language and creativity.


More Awards

Little Rebels Book Awards 2023

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award, now in its 11th year, recognises children’s fiction (for readers aged 0-12) which promotes social justice or social equality,

The Week Junior Book Awards 2023 2023 sees the inaugural year of The Week Junior Book Awards sponsored by Bookily from National Book Tokens. Set up to “celebrate the brilliant